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GOP memo touts new terror attack as way to reverse party's decline

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7639.shtml GOP memo touts new terror attack as way to reverse party s decline By DOUG THOMPSON Publisher,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 11, 2005

      GOP memo touts new terror attack as way to reverse
      party's decline
      Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
      Nov 10, 2005, 06:19

      A confidential memo circulating among senior
      Republican leaders suggests that a new attack by
      terrorists on U.S. soil could reverse the sagging
      fortunes of President George W. Bush as well as the
      GOP and "restore his image as a leader of the American

      The closely-guarded memo lays out a list of scenarios
      to bring the Republican party back from the political
      brink, including a devastating attack by terrorists
      that could “validate” the President’s war on terror
      and allow Bush to “unite the country” in a “time of
      national shock and sorrow.”

      The memo says such a reversal in the President's
      fortunes could keep the party from losing control of
      Congress in the 2006 midterm elections.

      GOP insiders who have seen the memo admit it’s a risky
      strategy and point out that such scenarios are “blue
      sky thinking” that often occurs in political planning

      “The President’s popularity was at an all-time high
      following the 9/11 attacks,” admits one aide.
      “Americans band together at a time of crisis.”

      Other Republicans, however, worry that such a scenario
      carries high risk, pointing out that an attack might
      suggest the President has not done enough to protect
      the country.

      “We also have to face the fact that many Americans no
      longer trust the President,” says a longtime GOP
      strategist. “That makes it harder for him to become a
      rallying point.”

      The memo outlines other scenarios, including:

      --Capture of Osama bin Laden (or proof that he is

      --A drastic turnaround in the economy;

      --A "successful resolution" of the Iraq war.

      GOP memos no longer talk of “victory” in Iraq but use
      the term “successful resolution.”

      “A successful resolution would be us getting out
      intact and civil war not breaking out until after the
      midterm elections,” says one insider.

      The memo circulates as Tuesday’s disastrous election
      defeats have left an already dysfunctional White House
      in chaos, West Wing insiders say, with shouting
      matches commonplace and the blame game escalating into
      open warfare.

      “This place is like a high-school football locker room
      after the team lost the big game,” grumbles one Bush
      administration aide. “Everybody’s pissed and pointing
      the finger at blame at everybody else.”

      Republican gubernatorial losses in Virginia and New
      Jersey deepened rifts between the Bush administration
      and Republicans who find the President radioactive.
      Arguments over whether or not the President should
      make a last-minute appearance in Virginia to try and
      help the sagging campaign fortunes of GOP candidate
      Jerry Kilgore raged until the minute Bush arrived at
      the rally in Richmond Monday night.

      “Cooler heads tried to prevail,” one aide says. “Most
      knew an appearance by the President would hurt Kilgore
      rather than help him but (Karl) Rove rammed it
      through, convincing Bush that he had enough popularity
      left to make a difference.”

      Bush didn’t have any popularity left. Overnight
      tracking polls showed Kilgore dropped three percentage
      points after the President’s appearance and Democrat
      Tim Kaine won on Tuesday.

      Conservative Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick
      Santorum told radio talk show host Don Imus Wednesday
      that he does not want the President's help and will
      stay away from a Bush rally in his state on Friday.

      The losses in Virginia and New Jersey, coupled with a
      resounding defeat of ballot initiatives backed by GOP
      governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California have set
      off alarm klaxons throughout the demoralized
      Republican party. Pollsters privately tell GOP
      leaders that unless they stop the slide they could
      easily lose control of the House in the 2006 midterm
      elections and may lose the Senate as well.

      “In 30 years of sampling public opinion, I’ve never
      seen such a freefall in public support,” admits one
      GOP pollster.

      Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin says the usual
      tricks tried by Republicans no longer work.

      "None of their old tricks worked," he says.

      Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) admits the GOP is a
      party mired in its rural base in a country that's
      becoming less and less rural.

      "You play to your rural base, you pay a price," he
      says. "Our issues blew up in our face."

      As Republican political strategists scramble to find a
      message – any message – that will ring true with
      voters, GOP leaders in Congress admit privately that
      control of their party by right-wing extremists makes
      their recovery all but impossible.

      “We’ve made our bed with these people,” admits an aide
      to House Speaker Denny Hastert. “Now it’s the morning
      after and the hangover hurts like hell.”
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